Economic state of the Zcash ecosystem

My ZconV presentation included some data about the holdings and runway of the current Dev Fund recipients, which I believe is relevant to the discussion about whether there should be a new Dev Fund or not.

Here is an updated* version of what I presented.

﹡I’ve updated the numbers to reflect the data that Josh shared in his presentation.

The underlying data can be found here.

@joshs Two questions regarding the financial data you shared:

  1. Do the asset numbers you shared include the assets held by or allocated to the ECC employee retention plan?

  2. Are the cost of payouts under that plan included in the average monthly operating expenses disclosed in ECC’s quarterly reports?

The ECC employee retention plan was mentioned on page 15 of ECC’s Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 report, and on page 8 of the Q3 2022 report.

Q1-2021

Q3-2022

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if all holdings from the dev fund would look like the one from ZCG, the community and also the sentiment around Zcash would be way better.

can’t we all move forward with an “ALL IN ZEC” vision and sell the other assets for ZEC or USD?

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We have to diversify our holdings, it’s not smart to hold only one asset, it’s not smart to hold too much of our own nascent blockchain asset. I appreciate that it would feel more loyal or in solidarity, but it would put the short term runway at risk. The more the BTC portion of holdings rides the Bitcoin institutional interest wave, the more we fund the private replacement for Bitcoin as the primary store of crypto value.

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I’ll have to double check these numbers @Dodger.

For ECC, its important to note that we have significant liabilities which aren’t reflected here. The largest of which is the 3.75M note to LAE, but also legal debt. The employee retention plan is also a liability and payments are marked to market as an expense the month they are due.

The runway expressed isn’t a good representation of truth for a few reasons. I shared our current burn, but we need to complete salary reviews and bring on additional staff, especially in key roles lost last year that have not been backfilled. Also, as you show, the vast majority of our balance sheet is highly volatile with BLD not completely liquid, and the STRK tokens are locked up, releasing a bit per month over the next three years.

@joshs I don’t see any way currently the dev fund will go away so why not make the best use of it until we have optimized atomic swaps DEX and ZSA and chain is not fully private (removal of t-address, TEX-address & transparent pool, sapling pool) and research of post quantum privacy on-chain

do whatever you have to do to keep developers & cryptographers happy and fully funded

we have to go for donation model in the future if we want to make zcash truly decentralized with no central point of failure

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I think we agree, but tell me if I’m off.

We’re advocating for:

  • the dev fund
  • an extension of the existing dev fun (by allocation %) for one year to give us the time we need to collectively build a more inclusive and decentralized solution

Separately, my Funding Bloc proposal is one possible means of achieving greater accountability, inclusivity, agility, alignment and decentralization

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If the devfund recipients are going to liquidate all the way down, anyone with a long position in ZEC should close it and frontrun the selling. If the devfund recipients are going to treasure the ZEC and use it natively as much as possible, there is a strong case for investors to buy ZEC.

If The Zcash Foundation is going to swap ZEC for Bitcoin when ZEC is at $20 and BTC is at $70,000, please tell me why some stranger should buy it? In all seriousness, can someone state the case for me? Why should someone buy ZEC when the Foundation continues to sell? Seriously, who are we trying to appeal to and whats the case? If we favor BTC over ZEC, why would anyone else favor ZEC?

ZEC is cheap because it’s not respected. We should be looking forward to 1000 ZEC being an enormous annual salary for a top executive or engineer. 100,000 ZEC should be an enormous fortune. If we dont believe, why should anyone else believe?

I think I heard several times at ZconV that Zcash Foundation will do what “the community” wants? I assume that includes the fundamental question of what to do with the devfund ZEC? What evidence is there that the community wants ZF to hedge away from ZEC in favor of Bitcoin?

Please vote in this poll and make sure to share it with the people who think that selling ZEC is good for the future of Zcash:

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@joshs for now sadly zcash need dev fund until zcash have the backbone to implement mandatory default privacy on-chain at base layer

do whatever you have to do to get there

zcash community have to find ways to mitigate government crackdown of either privacy or dev fund or both

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@skyl zcash will only be successful if its used peer 2 peer as a medium of exchange

or else it will never work

ZSA and DeFi can mitigate some problems but not all of them

We also have to go for post quantum
zcash project need to be more decentralized with no central point of failure

I’m reading hier 3 months non stop, and invest a lot of money also I have my poeple with advice all bought high amount and I come to conclusion that.

  • This people hier have best technology but don’t know how to move the project…sometimes looks like my goverment making tender someone to make money… you must all risk take some desicion and go all in…I dont speak for programers but for this who make desicions… all the time we read some political speach…brother yoi make desicion and go in… risk… all is better than now… you are on the bottom… I have group who investes 0.5 milion euros and we haven’t seen so slow moving project… sorry that I’m direct, I speak for good, all are good people hier but you need to move…
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This is a great topic!

Dissemination, education, evangelization… videos, podcasts, meetups, hackatons, etc, etc, etc.

Topics that today seem diffuse and even distant, but that surely could achieve that stability and respect that Zcash deserves within the crypto ecosystem in general.

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I don’t have the authoritative answer but considering the quarterly reports, ZF had 69.42 BTC in Q3 and 63.69 BTC in Q4 2023. So it’s not currently swapping ZEC for Bitcoin.

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Well, other than the $3.75m owed to LAE and liabilities associated with the employee retention plan, how much does ECC owe?

Given the description of the employee retention plan (“the board granted ZEC coins to each employee with vesting milestones during each of the next 4 years”), I assume the liabilities associated with the employee retention plan are denominated in ZEC, which means that a portion of ECC’s ZEC assets are effectively encumbered.

  • How many ZEC were originally allocated to the employee retention plan in Q1 2021? (a)

  • We know (from page 8 of ECC’s Q3 2022 report) that “[d]uring Q3 2022, the Bootstrap Board of Directors set aside an additional 10,000 ZEC to fund future retention grants”.

  • Have any additional ZEC been allocated to the employee retention plan beyond the original grant and the additional 10,000? (b)

  • How many ZEC have been paid out to date under the employee retention plan? (c)

  • Have any ZEC that were allocated to the employee retention plan been returned to ECC/Bootstrap (e.g. due to departures or layoffs)? If so, how many? (d)

With those numbers, we can calculate ( a + 10,000 + b − c − d ) to get the number of ZEC that are effectively encumbered through being allocated to the employee retention plan. Then we can subtract that from the ~56,000 ZEC ECC (and/or Bootstrap) currently holds in order to exclude it from the net assets and runway calculation.

I shouldn’t have to be asking these questions. I should be able to find this information on ECC’s or Bootstrap’s website. ZIP 1014 mandates that ZF, ECC and Bootstrap publish an “Annual financial report (IRS Form 990, or substantially similar information).“. The Form 990 reporting requirements include detailed financial information in parts VII thru Part XII, so ECC and Bootstrap should be publishing all that information.

We include a simplified balance sheet with both coin balances and USD values in our quarterly reports.

Presumably you have a budget and/or projections. What’s ECC’s projected monthly burn rate over the next four years?

The fact that an asset price is volatile doesn’t mean that it’s worthless. Any balance sheet or runway calculation is based on a snapshot of that organisation’s assets and the value of those assets at a specific point in time.

Your ZconV presentation stated, with regard to the STRK tokens, that “1.67% unlock y1, then 3.33%”. Presumably that means that 1.67% of the token unlock each month during the first twelve months, then 3.33% per month thereafter?

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A better conversation would be centered on what recipients will do with any new dev funding rather than on the current state of our balance sheets.

ZF claims not to advocate for a particular decision. Meanwhile, you imply that you need a dev fund and, therefore, should receive one. You mentioned something at ZconV about having to find another job. It’s inconsistent.

Asking what our projected monthly burn is over “the next four years” is interesting. Are you trying to say that ECC will be in a better financial position than ZF (due to our early pre-dev fund investments) and, therefore, ZF should receive comparatively more money? You asked about what our spending will be over four years. Why use that timeframe? This implies an assumption of another four years of funding.

Regardless, the basis for the dev fund should be whether or not the community wants to pay for the services provided in exchange for the money received. A better conversation is one in which the ZF, ECC, and anyone else requesting funds communicate and commit to a clear roadmap and intended outcomes so that the community can assess the value provided in exchange for the funds received.

Everyone should be held to the same standard. None of us (ZF, ECC, ZCG) should believe that we are in a position of privilege to receive any additional funding merely because we have existed and would like to continue to exist. To quote @zmanian, “Any future of the dev fund must shift to strategic goals rather than sustaining organizations.”

p. s., framing such as “I shouldn’t have to be asking these questions” with inquiries for detail beyond what is required comes off as condescending and privileged. We have shared the necessary information in our formal filings and transparency reports. But for your reference, there are just under 11k in coins in the retention plan, vesting through 2026. And yes, the STRK tokens vest monthly.

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That’s certainly a conversation we should have…

…but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t ensure that the community has a clear understanding of the current financial state of the various organisations in the Zcash ecosystem, including their runway.

“Rather than” implies that we should do the latter instead of the former. I believe we should do both.

This isn’t about advocating for a particular decision.

This is about ensuring that the community has the facts they need to make an informed decision.

It’s a simple fact that ZF, ECC and ZCG require funding to operate, carry out research, develop software, run events like Zeboot and Zcon, and make grants the way they do currently.

The community’s decisions regarding any future dev fund will have consequences for those organisations’ ability to continue operating (as well as other organisations who are either potential recipients of a future dev fund or potential grant recipients). Those organisations’ current financial position and their burn rate is also a factor.

All of this is also relevant to the question of decentralization. In general, if one organisation controls a disproportionately larger amount of resources (whether that’s money, capability in the form of specialist expertise, influence, etc.) than other organisations in the same ecosystem, that organisation is in a position to wield more power, which means that the ecosystem is less decentralized than if resources are more evenly distributed.

When I projected ECC’s runway based on the numbers for assets and monthly expenditure (i.e. burn rate) from the Q3 2023 report, I ended up extrapolating annual expenditure increases over four years because the runway came out at 54 months (i.e. 4½ years). You indicated that ECC’s burn rate is likely to increase due to salary reviews and new hiring, which implies a shorter runway so that’s why I asked about the four year timeframe.

If the projected runway had come out at 3½ years, I’d have asked about a three year timeframe; if it had been 5½ years, I’d have asked about a five year timeframe.

That’s one facet of the conversation. Another facet is the question of what happens if the community opts not to pay for any services. The ecosystem organisations’ financial state and runway is directly relevant to that.

Whether it’s “better” to have another conversation is a matter of opinion. This conversation is about facts and ensuring that the Zcash community is in a position to make an informed decision.

How many coins were allocated to the retention plan originally?

When did the monthly STRK token vesting begin?

You say that I’m asking for “detail beyond what is required”. Respectfully, I disagree.

The Transparency and Accountability section of ZIP 1014 specifies ongpoing public reporting requirements for the Dev Fund recipients, including an “Annual financial report (IRS Form 990, or substantially similar information).”

The financial reporting requirements in IRS Form 990 include:

  • Part VII - Compensation of Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, Highest Compensated Employees, and Independent Contractors
  • Part VIII - Statement of Revenue
  • Part IX - Statement of Functional Expenses
  • Part X - Balance Sheet
  • Part XI - Reconciliation of Net
  • Part XII - Financial Statements and Reporting

We comply with ZIP 1014 by publishing our 990s on our website as soon as we submit them to the IRS.

Where can we find Bootstrap’s 990s, and the equivalent information for ECC?

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I would really like to see ZF focus on its own financials, its own roadmap, and the value it brings to the community, rather than watch it go after another organization over and over again.

What am I even looking at right now?! No other partner in the ecosystem gets this kind of treatment from ZF leadership. This cannot possibly be good for ECC-ZF collaboration, which is so crucial at this point. I get that some people enjoy all the drama and don’t mind unprofessional behavior, but this is bad for Zcash. (!!)

Someone has to say this out loud, because the whispers behind the scenes aren’t doing it: it is incredibly inappropriate for one leader of a major Zcash org to address another leader of a major Zcash org in this way. Can it stop? This is a very misguided notion of transparency, and it is not how you treat your partners. Not if you want a productive relationship with them. If “the community needs to know,” let the community ask.

I respect ECC’s willingness to put their money where their mouth is by supporting a dev fund structure that would let laws of supply and demand decide whether there’s a customer for the service they provide, to see if what they provide is valued by the community. This is what grant recipients are required to do today. That’s what a free marketplace of ideas looks like. That’s the Zcash we need. Nothing less. But, of course, not everyone likes free markets and try to control them for “our safety and convenience.” We are not new to this.

If it’s still relevant, we can discuss ECC’s financials once they submit their proposal for funding to the community. ZF can make its case for funding when it submits their proposal. But lots of things need to happen between now and then. Right now, this level of detail gives us nothing. It’s just a bunch of words that make things seem more complicated than they really are. A distraction. Does the community want to pay for wordy drama or do we want to see actual work get done? I would like to see the dev fund reward people’s ability to execute, not their ability to look for faults in others. In the end, results are all that matters. Those who are confident in their results, have nothing to worry about.

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On the irs database, the whole thing runs 2 years behind but thats nothing new
BOOTSTRAP ORG INC
EIN: 85-0765444 | United States

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I agree with what @peacemonger expresses.This kind of interactions are destructive and should stop.

It’s not my place to judge who’s right or wrong. But there must be another way bring this stuff up.

2022 and part of 2023 it was Zooko trashing ZF’s work, posting forum and twitter threads that then he had to publicy apologize for. It surprises me that this sort punch throwing happens again.

Folks, there must be another way. You don’t have to love each other, be friends or anythign like that. But this looks so much like “parents fighting in front of the kids”… it’s sad. It does not show the world what Zcash means to all of us.

Please, to the Zcash leadership, get together in a room behind shielded doors, say what you need to say to each other, no matter how harsh it is, take all the time you need, and then please come out with a plan / idea we can all get behind to. Make Zcash Unified a real thing, not a fancy conference marketing piece.

Zcash needs it, and the world needs it because it needs Zcash. :heart:

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